Coming out at Gay Prom!
It’s that time of year again, and the one thing that’s on every senior student’s mind is the Debs. Teenage boys and girls all over the country are hoping for the perfect outfit, the perfect limo and that perfect night. Girls will bring boys, boys will bring girls, and good fun will be had by all to celebrate the end of their school years. For many it will be a night to remember and cherished for years to come. But for others, it can be a painful reminder that as a gay student that you’re still not considered equal. Like myself, young gay students are often left with a choice, leave your partner at home and bring someone of the opposite gender or just don’t go. It’s shocking that this is still happening today but my debs was only last year and I can tell you it is very much a reality.
My debs sadly wasn’t all that magical, in the end I gave into pressure and brought a girl. We danced the night away to the DJ’s choice of tracks from what I can only imagine was a single CD of “Now’s greatest hits 2006’’. Thankfully my French teacher was fully prepared for this musical train wreck and broke out the CD collection buried in her car, a vast improvement to the night I may add. After that I don’t think I could really fault my debs, it was filled with the usual tears, dress rivalry, and bad dancing. As it was the last night I thought I’d ever see my colourful classmates, I decided to come out to them and give them a scandal to remember me by. When I did, to my surprise they were all very supportive, even the boys who taunted me in P.E. But then a question came up that I found difficult to answer. ‘‘How come you didn’t bring yer fella to the debs?’’. Truth be told, I was afraid of how they’d react, and I was asked not to by my year head. It’s a question that still makes me wonder. What if I did bring a boy to my debs against my teacher’s wishes? What would my experience have been like? Would I have found that perfect night?
Gay Prom is about redressing this, so that gay young people know that they are valued and have the same rights as everyone else. I’m not going to lie it’s basically a fabulous party for people to get a second chance at a perfect debs, regardless if they’re 18 or 80. It’s about our community supporting its young people to come out safely and to have all the same opportunities as other young people. Because of bullying and exclusion, school can be a really tough place for LGBT young people. BeLonG To gives these youths a place to turn to and a place to be themselves. Gay Prom is a way for you to show your support for their amazing work day in and day out. And if it’s anything to go by the last one, it’s going to be a night to remember.